The House with the Pink Shutters – A Change of Colour. Samos Island Greece.
For many years we have talked about upgrading the self contained unit and the main house but have never had the cash to do anything about it. All the furnishings and fittings are over 30 years old and have been used to the point of extinction and the decor is mainly shades of brown, tan, pine and cream. The place was great as a crash pad for short holidays but comfort wise – I would give it a 3/10. Each time we return to the island we have to carry out a running repairs on the shutters, walls, paint, plumbing and woodwork – which eats into the budget not leaving much for new furnishings and fittings. As much as my artwork and the stuff we bring back from our travels lightens up the plain old fashioned interior there is no disguising that the house is past its sell by date in the decor department.
Since we plan to move here on a more permanent basis, this year I was determined to spend some money making the place more comfortable and modern. On the list of things to do were:-
New sofas and mats, new chairs for the dining table, re-tile the awful brown kitchen and replace all 55 brass door knobs that blind us with their brassy glare in the sunlight. Sort out the self contained unit to make more room. Change the colour of the shutters after finally talking my traditionalist partner around. Get someone to build some rails onto the marble stairs leading to the terrace for safety reasons. Put a walk in shower in the bathroom, paint anything dark and boring white. New beds and mattresses. Sort out the garden at the family’s main house in the port and start growing food.
A bit of a tall order considering how slow things get done on this island. Yet we went to Ikea in Athens and bought a load of stuff, got it delivered to the island in good time, sorted out the unit and redecorated, painted the shutters a new colour (blue), rearranged furniture, retiled and painted, organised and made plans for the shower discovering in the process that Kosta (next door neighbor) was a tiler. We even found someone to give us a quote for the outside staircase. It was all going too well.
As usual the sticking point came with the way many of the locals work around here. Hard to get a quotes or anything in writing and a time frame for the work to be done in. And so this was with the rails. We explained that we wanted the work done before the beginning of July as we had friends with small children coming other guests staying in the small unit and drinking sessions up top. For safety reasons. A month later and several phone calls to the supplier and we still had no quote or a date. Finally he came up with a sum (expensive) but we agreed as time was getting short. Another period of time passed with no word from him. We called on several occasions and were told he was “In Athens”, “On Holiday”, “doing another job”. Finally he rang and said that he was coming to do the job (no date given). By this time our friends had arrived and our guests were due in two weeks (end of July). We gave him a dead line and didn’t hear from him again until the middle of August. He called and told us that he had contracted the job out and that the guy was coming the next day. We told him that we now had guests and that he had missed the boat – it didn’t go down well.
So now we need to start all over again but as it turns out our friend’s son’s girlfriend’s father make’s railings and we only found this out when we invited them all over for dinner. It’s amazing what you learn over Gonan beef curry, bombay potatoes and nan bread. Next time I’m going to hold all my dinner parties at the beginning of the year!
If you would like to read more about my life in Samos and the many wonderful people of the island I have written an e book called A Samian-Summer-Sue-Llewellyn. https://www.amazon.com/Samian-Summer-Sue-Llewellyn-ebook/dp/B00TFCSJB6